March 23rd in Mountain View, California tesla model X crashed killing the passenger. After recovering the logs from the crash site, Tesla acknowledged that Autopilot was on, with the adaptive cruise control follow distance set to a minimum. And the driver had his hands off the steering wheel ignoring the warning.
The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision. The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.
Tesla reasoned this accident was severe because the owner didn’t replace the damaged attenuator.
Tesla also addresses that people don’t have to be scared of autonomous vehicles because of just one fatal crash.
Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur. It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists. No one knows about the accidents that didn’t happen, only the ones that did. The consequences of the public not using Autopilot, because of an inaccurate belief that it is less safe, would be extremely severe. There are about 1.25 million automotive deaths worldwide. If the current safety level of a Tesla vehicle were to be applied, it would mean about 900,000 lives saved per year. We expect the safety level of autonomous cars to be 10 times safer than non-autonomous cars.